Relationships can be a minefield, especially in the early stages. Unless you already knew the person well before embarking on a relationship, it’s a confusing time. In the midst of getting to know someone, you’re luxuriating in all the wonderful feelings that are flying around. You feel warm, content – and just a little bit terrified.
One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is brushing off the facts that may make you incompatible. Many of the “big” issues – such as marriage, children and general life attitudes – seem far too big. You’re in the early stages, and you want to enjoy them.
There’s some reason to do that – but how long should it go on for?
The consensus of advice is six months.
Why Six Months?
When you pass the six-month mark, your relationship is already functioning well. You have moved past the initial dopamine-induced rush off the first few months and have begun to see how your lives blend. You will be picking up habits together and integrating into one another’s friends and family lives.
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Where do they stand on the idea of getting married? And, for that matter, where do you stand? Is it something that you both want or do you have an objection to it?
No one is saying you have to immediately start shopping for your Tacori engagement rings and planning wedding decor. This is an idea of where you’re at. If this conversation moves toward the concept of engagement, then that’s great – you’re on the same page and not rushing anything.
But if you disagree, it’s best to know about something so fundamental now.
Do you agree on the possibility of children? The number of couples who choose to be childfree is increasing, but you have to be as one on this. If you have a difference of opinion, then you have to be realistic. Can you live without kids when you have always wanted them? Can they, if you’re the one with objections? Is it fair for either of you to ask it of the other?
These might seem like heavy questions for six months, but that’s why you should have them. Let it go for too long, and you will be deep into a relationship, then faced with a stark realisation you differ on something so basic. It is better to know now that you envision your future differently than find out in a few years when your lives will be far more difficult to unravel. You don’t have to act on the conclusions you reach if you don’t want to – but you have to have them there in case you need to.